Category Archives: News

California Rancho Cooking

Clay’s Kitchen on Sarsa

Clay got this recipe from California Rancho Cooking by Jacqueline Higuera McMahan. He says it makes about 5 cups.

The word sarsa belongs to the old vernacular favored by Californios when referring to their favorite things. Salsa and sarsa are sort of the same thing but sarsa is meant to be chunkier and calls for milder green chiles. Add a jalapeño or two if you want a more picante sarsa. Finally, everything is anointed with wine vinegar and olive oil.

Sarsa is typically eaten on top of frijole or wrapped in a tortilla, but barbecued meats were never served without it.

4 large tomatoes
4 green anaheim chiles
1 sweet red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fruity olive oil
¼ cup finely snipped cilantro
1 sprig of oregano

Char the tomatoes over a gas flame or on a grill. Char the chiles until blackened in the same way. Place the chiles under a damp cloth or paper towels to steam for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pull off the tomato skins, cut the tomatoes in half, and remove the seeds. Dice the tomatoes. Use a paper towel to rub off the blackened skins from the chiles. Slit the chiles open and pull out the seeds, reserving some of them. Dice the chiles and add to the tomatoes. Add the onion, garlic, salt, vinegar, olive oil, and cilantro. Add enough reserved chile seeds to lend authority to the sarsa. Immerse the oregano sprig in the sarsa and set in a cool place until the barbecue is ready.

Fresh sarsa keeps for a day, but if you happen to have some left over, simmer in a saucepan for 5 minutes and serve over eggs: Huevos Rancheros. To make sarsa spicier, add 2 to 4 teaspoons chile powder.

I am also told corn tortillas were for Indians and flour ones for Spaniards, but not everybody is sure this is true. My town was Chumash. It has the oldest skeleton in North America, dating from the end of the last Ice Age.


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Filed under Arts, News

Mary Niall Mitchell, Akala, and more

Δ This blog has few readers but me. It is a reason why I should merge it with my research blog, and work more on my research blog. Or spend more time organizing research notes in other platforms.

Δ In any case, Mary Niall Mitchell at the University of New Orleans has this important project and may know things about New Orleans history that will support my project. I must be inspired.

Δ There is an inspiring British rapper named Akala whom I should use as an inspiration deity. This is his website. He is very intelligent and versatile. He has books, but I am interested in his graphic novel first.

Δ I need to read Ann Twinam’s Purchasing Whiteness and want to buy it, but should look for it in a library first.

Δ Allegory is not about mechanical meanings but about inner life and complex imagery. We are freed to contemplate these things since there is no doubt about theme.

Δ Many works of literature have multifractal structures.

Δ Border Cantosis — an exhibit I will see when I get to San José, which I will do, believe it or not.

Δ A smart, very balanced piece on the Clinton e-mail “scandal.”

Δ A comfortingly pessimistic view of the election and American militarism. Or unsettlingly pessimistic? What should one do (take on the arms industry and the military-prison industrial complex, has typically been my answer)?

Δ I thought steppes were cold Siberian plains with prison camps on them, and I was joking when I said the American prairies and pampas were steppes, but it seems they are. Some steppes are even subtropical. The Silk Road is on steppes, and I have been on one or two.


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Filed under Arts, Bibliography, News, Poetry, Race book, Resources, Songs

The Libyan Situation

This is a New York Times article worthy of study. There is a marvelous quotation from H. Clinton on Qaddafi: “We came, we saw, he died!” and much else in the piece.

I would have loved to visit Libya. And Iran and other places.


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Filed under Banes, News, Resources

Louisiana State Penitentiary

Cotton Picking Farm Line 16 1998Warden's House

Above is a mounted guard and a prisoner picking cotton in 1998 (some guards have rifles). Below, the warden’s house in the same period. This is at Angola, the flagship prison, located on the former Angola Plantation.

These images are not mine, nor is the one of the electric chair a post or two ago, and I can give the source if readers are interested.



Filed under Movement, News

Death chamber

View of Electric Chair From Witness Room 1984

Here is a 1984 view of the Louisiana electric chair, from the witness room. What surprises me is how close the witnesses sit. I realize it must be the same for the lethal injection — I had thought witnesses chairs would be elevated, as in a theatre, and further away — but I see this supposition was baseless.

I am guessing this is one of the reasons why witnesses are traumatized, watching murder up close and grisly murders of people they know at that.


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Bill Moyers

So why has Wasserman Schultz been so opposed to the CFPB’s proposed rules? She has said, “Payday lending is unfortunately a necessary component of how people get access to capital, [people] that are the working poor.” But maybe it has something more to do with the $2.5 million or so the payday loan industry has donated to Florida politicians from both parties since 2009. That’s according to a new report by the liberal group Allied Progress. More than $50,000 of that cash has gone to Rep. Wasserman Schultz.

But we digress. It’s the skullduggery going on within the Democratic Party establishment that’s our current concern and as we wrote in March, Rep. Wasserman Schultz “has played games with the party’s voter database, been accused of restricting the number of Democratic candidate debates and scheduling them at odd days and times to favor Hillary Clinton, and recently told CNN’s Jake Tapper that superdelegates — strongly establishment and pro-Clinton — are necessary at the party’s convention so deserving incumbent officials and party leaders don’t have to run for delegate slots ‘against grassroots activists.’ [Emphasis added] Let that sink in, but hold your nose against the aroma of entitlement.”

Tout lire.



Filed under Movement, News

On self-presentation and gender

I had to write a professional blurb about myself and I wrote: I teach primarily X but have also taught Y, and I publish primarily on A but have also worked on B.

This was ostensibly because the blurb was written in connection with a proposal on Y and B, not X and A (which my vita supports more easily).

Nonetheless I should have written and rather than but in the sentence outlined above, and the reason I did not had to do with gender.



Filed under News, Working